Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The day we call tomorrow: When Barcelona finally bows

One hundred eleven years ago, the “Generación del 98” caused chaos across Spain after the shocking defeat of their empire in the Spanish-American war. The national pride was hurt and despair wounded every heart. Such movement was led by art advocates and talented figures in poetry, literature and music. At a moment of misery, art –as usual- steps in to fill the space and challenge disgrace. 

At Barcelona, another art was sparking its immortal flame that year. Joan Gamper was heading the group of Fc Barcelona pioneers. The Catalan club was created not only to perfect the art of football, but also to represent the pride of the Catalan nation, inspire their dreams, and keep being the light leading them out of the dark tunnels. After the Siege of Barcelona the will of the nation had to show up through an art of any kind. Did I mention that, at a moment of misery, art –as usual- steps in to fill the space and challenge disgrace? And that’s how the Art of upgrading football from ball kicking to a campaign promoting values was born in Catalonia. 

The club- as the nation- went through good times and –mostly- bad times since then. Gamper achieved his role giving the club a heart. The sacrifices throughout the years brought the club a soul that stamped the meanings behind being more than a club. Yet, when Franco’s dictatorship collapsed, the club was 73 years old institution coming out of a cruel struggle against that autocratic regime. There was a need for new inspiration, someone who can heal the wounds of the past and pave the road for glorious future. Johan Cruyff was the survivor who brought back hopes and passions, as a player then as a coach. And that’s how the Art of football exhibitions was born in Catalonia.

Followed, the club’s era of success and mess in football While being a mess…and mess in management and economy. That period of time ended up threatening the club existence. The miracle of Gamper and jewel of Cruyff was collapsing in front of the lovers’ eyes. There was a need for a new wonder to turn the table. A supernatural power…or talent… Ask and you shall receive!

The best and most joyful failure in Barca’s history brought the club their best bless since Cruyff himself. Losing the battle to bring Beckham to Barcelona led the club to sign Ronaldinho who was already on the transfer list of his former club. The rest is history.

Since Maradona, there was no player who succeeded to carry his team on his shoulders from dark cages to golden ages the way Ronaldinho did. His football skills and talent dominated Spanish and European football and took everyone by storm. His image as the most marketable figure for the club brought financial rescue for a club that was on the edge of bankruptcy. But most importantly, he did all that with a smile on his face. He played for the ecstasy of the game and he enjoyed doing so. His character left an unforgotten impact on the way the team approach matches. The club that Gamper left was a club that holds values beyond football. The club Cruyff left was a club that considers attractive display as a must to entertain the fans. Ronaldinho represented the idea that to be able to entertain the fans, you must enjoy your time while doing so. It is no more a circus where the players torture themselves mentally and physically for their audience pleasure, but a carnival where the dancers and the spectators share wonderful times. 

He was not only an inspiration for the veterans he shared the dressing room with, but also for the youth whom he offered unquestionable support. Ask Messi. True, he was a night-life crazy boy. Yet, for being the ultimate artist he is, that should be a given. Art comes hand in hand with a touch of madness. You could hear the drum’s tempo in the background of his football display on the field. That’s the way he rolls, and rules!

Tomorrow, one hundred ten years and a year from the day Gamper created Barcelona’s Football Miracle. In the cup of Gamper himself, Barcelona will witness the arrival of Great Ronaldinho to their stadium, his stadium. 37 years away from the 73th year of last millennium where Cruyff rejuvenated the Jewel of Gamper, Ronaldinho will come back home. One hundred ten years and one year sounds like the “one thousand night and one night” tales of magic and fantasies. The 111 years repeating the number 1 three times to brief the history of the club that was inspired by the three number one magicians who joined the Catalan knights and contributed in building Barca’s towers of glory.

Tomorrow, we will all chant your name. Tomorrow, while your eyes are cheering the thousands of Cules in the stadium giving you a standing ovation, make no mistake as there are millions of Barca fans at homes, pubs, and wherever they can watch you who will be standing with their chins up offering you the ovation you deserve. 

Tomorrow, you will not come back home, because –as you know- you was always there.

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1 comment:

  1. this is amazing article...thanks for putin this together